Bush would have lost if "chads" counted

Defeated presidential candidate Al Gore would now be sitting in the White House if every chad or indentation on ballots in Palm Beach County, Florida, had been counted, according to an analysis by the Palm Beach Post newspaper released Sunday. In its ballot-by-ballot review of the 9,150 undervotes in Palm Beach County, the Post concluded that Mr. Gore could have gained 784 more votes than Mr. Bush if every "hanging chad, pinhole, ding and dimple" next to the candidates' names had counted. County officials threw out more than 5,700 punch card ballots in which holes were not completely punched through. The newspaper said confusion over the county's now famous "butterfly ballot" may have cost Gore an additional 6,600 votes, far over what he would have needed to nullify President George W. Bush's thin lead in Florida and win the presidency. Bush won Florida by 537 votes. In its review of the 19,125 punch cards discarded as overvotes, or where more than one mark appears on the ballot, the Post concluded that Mr Gore lost 6,607 votes. Although only a few thousand votes were involved, the Post observed that the margins were so thin in the crucial southern state, they were key to election victory. More than 5,000 voters in Palm Beach County invalidated their ballots by punching holes for Mr. Gore and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, the newspaper found. Another 2,900 voted for Gore and punched a hole for Socialist David McReynolds, whose name was below Gore's. "The Palm Beach Post's recount is another nail in the coffin of the mistaken notion that George W. Bush got more votes in Florida," Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe is quoted by AFP as saying in response to the report. "Plain and simple, the report today shows that Gore won," insisted McAuliffe.

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